Be your own family

Today is the big day. My first post at Simple Homeschool.

I swear the more concise a post needs to be the harder it is for me to write. Writing according to another person's style guidelines was and is challenging but I'm excited about being stretched in this capacity; keeping it short, to the point and helpful. Oh but don't worry, I'll still ramble on over here at FIMBY where I'm in charge (smile).

So this is my ramble today, which is really to introduce to give more story behind the post at Simple Homeschool.

I remember a few years ago when my good friend introduced me to the simplicity of Charlotte Mason's thoughts on education. She loaned me A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola, and I ate it up. It just made so much sense based on what I had already observed in my children and fit well with what I wanted our homeschool environment to look like.

Fast forward to today.

What we do (or mostly don't do) doesn't look a whole lot like a Charlotte Mason homeschool. But that's ok, because it's not. It's the Tougas family homeschool. But I did learn so much from Andreola's summary of Mason's ideas; applying what worked for us and letting go the rest (without feeling too much guilt).

Recently, I had the same "ah, I love this, I must chew, swallow and digest everything about this book" experience in reading Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Rachel and Oliver DeMille.

This book shares a lot in common with Mason's idea but from a different angle. I know by now though that I'm not going to follow this book to the letter just as I haven't followed any other educational philosophy to the letter.

That's how we're supposed to feel when we read about what other people are doing in their lives or homeschools. We shouldn't feel that we don't measure up, we're doing it all wrong or that we have to run out buy the curriculum they're using (or follow the guru they follow).

My sincere goal in being a homeschooling advocate is not to say "this is how I homeschool my children, now you should do the same". My goal is to say "this is how I homeschool my kiddos (aren't they just the cat's meow)". Basically, I just want to tell our story.

If you like what you see you might want to try some of the things that have worked for me but only if they fit with who you are as a family.

So friends between this post here and what I've said at Simple Homeschool today I think that's all I want to say on the subject, except this:

be who you are and let that light shine.

Link to all my posts at Simple Homeschool.

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  • Aimee

    Aimee on Feb. 10, 2010, 8:53 p.m.

    Just came over from Simple Homeschool...LOVED your article!! I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the good reminders to keep on being who WE are.


  • Kika

    Kika on Feb. 10, 2010, 10:59 p.m.

    That is how I feel, too. I think you have a unique voice to share with others and I am glad you have this opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with a larger audience.


  • kate

    kate on Feb. 11, 2010, 1:56 a.m.

    CONGRATULATIONS! Which is what I have wanted to say for two days, but a croup-sick kiddo has kept online time to a very bare minimum. I totally get what you mean about shorter writing. I actually just had this conversation a few weeks ago with an editor for one of the magazines I freelance for-- we were discussing the fact that short pieces-- perfected in magazines like Real Simple and Wired-- are so much harder to write than the in-depth features. They have to be engaging and packed with information and have a bit of a twist without being cheesy or trying too hard. There really ought to be a book on it, because I swear, it is an art. And that being said, embrace that stretch mama! You have such a gift to share-- SO excited to follow you on this project!!


  • Alisha

    Alisha on Feb. 11, 2010, 3:51 a.m.

    I'm going to check you out on Simple Homeschool! I love the Charlotte Mason method. It works amazing for us. Of course, we tweak it to how it needs to fit us,like how you guys do:) I made the mistake of not doing it again this year (we did it in '08) and we went to a more "workbooky" curriculum this year. I think it is 98.9% to blame for all our dysfunction this year. I am so going back to it next year!

    P.S. I love your little candlestick holder! Where did you find it or did you make it?


  • Rana

    Rana on Feb. 11, 2010, 4:06 a.m.

    I haven't had a chance to read the whole post over at Simple Homeschool. I got sidetracked with the kids halfway through, but I thought that was your writing. I love your style. I will go back and leave a comment.

    But you are so right with finding our own. I love Charlotte Mason but not all of it is for us. I do a little bit of this and that, it works for us and the kids are happy and enjoy learning. Great post.


  • Kira

    Kira on Feb. 11, 2010, 7:01 a.m.

    I give kuddos to those who can homeschool! I tryed with my son last yr and had the hardest time...maybe later on when his older...i struggled EVERY single day with him and got no where..this yr he went into kindergarten and is flying threw and loving every min of it my only down that his is SICK allllll the dang time...home schooling is something i hope to do in the future i think.. Thanks Renee for dropping by the other day an commenting on my post about food inc :) i too wasnt as suprised as alot f ppl r when they watch that movie!


  • Shawn

    Shawn on Feb. 11, 2010, 7:30 a.m.

    You echoed my thoughts exactly regarding Charlotte Mason. I would consider the Personal Reflections my go-to, most inspiring homeschool "handbook". Yet, I don't particularly follow it, just use it as an idea guide. If I tried to incorporate every CM method I'd go nuts. I'd have really well-rounded kids, but go nuts just the same. I agree so much with this post. I have directed a couple people to your video as well. My favorite thing you said in it was that there are as as many different ways to homeschool as there are homeschooling families, and to do what feels right for your own family. Such great advice for anyone just getting started. I like your extended version of posts, too. :)

    (PS- It arrived today, the camera of my dreams. It is my first SLR, so a basic Rebel. All advice appreciated!)


  • Mariah

    Mariah on Feb. 11, 2010, 2:19 p.m.

    Congratulations! I was so happy to see your face over at Simple Homeschool :) I love your post about knowing your family. I think it is wonderful advice for homeschoolers and schoolers alike!


  • Tea and Chopsticks

    Tea and Chopsticks on Feb. 11, 2010, 7:35 p.m.

    I really like your site. You make home schooling look fun and simple. I'm in the midst of the process and I'm finding I need to go a bit easy on myself. One day at a time. I don't even remember how I found your site but I really like it. Nice photos. I take shots as well so I know how much of an outlet it is to be doing something creative.


  • Hannah

    Hannah on Feb. 15, 2010, 4:41 a.m.

    What a lovely, freeing philosophy. And one I strongly identify with, as I haven't managed to align myself strictly with any particular method, although there are several I certainly admire. I guess we qualify as eclectic homeschoolers! Sounds like maybe you do too.

    I've been wanting to read about Leadership Education for a while now. The only things stopping me have been not finding those volumes at our library, and a reluctance to fall "in love" with another philosophy that makes me uncertain of our own direction. Your post reminds me that we can whatever we need from any source and make it our own.


    • renee

      renee on March 3, 2010, 12:30 p.m.

      "The only things stopping me have been not finding those volumes at our library, and a reluctance to fall "in love" with another philosophy that makes me uncertain of our own direction."

      I totally understand that. I don't usually go looking for ed. philosophies. They just seem to fall in my lap, usually as books lent or given to me by friends.


  • Teri Helms

    Teri Helms on Feb. 15, 2010, 6:57 p.m.

    LOVE that you're reading Leadership Education, LOVE that you're enjoying it, LOVE that you love Charlotte Mason...but mostly.... LOVE that you realize that these are philosophies and suggestions...NOT mandates... And that the family is just that...God's given identity maker and shaper in a dark world!

    My entire blog is dedicated to the concepts of Leadership Education...which you are wholeheartedly endorsing and practicing from what I see here! Blessings to you!, Teri


  • Diann Jeppson

    Diann Jeppson on Feb. 16, 2010, 2:11 a.m.

    I agree that Leadership Education is a great source for some terrific ideas to incorporate into the homeschool. I love what the DeMille's have to say, and have applied several of their ideas in my home for years.

    As a homeschooling advocate and conference speaker myself, I definitely resonate with what you said about sharing your thoughts and hoping that they will be found useful to others, if they fit into other's lifestyle, but not as the only way to go. After all, one of the main ideas here is to build people who can self-lead.

    Thanks for the excellent work you are doing, and keep it up!

    Diann Jeppson


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